• The LGBT community reacts after the announcement of a govt bill allowing people from the age of 15 to change their gender identity without medical treatment. (NurPhoto (Photo by Panayotis Tzamaros/NurPhoto))
“Today’s reform is a hard-won victory for transgender rights activists in Greece who have fought for equality for transgender people for years."
Michaela Morgan

11 Oct 2017 - 4:12 PM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2017 - 4:14 PM

The Greek parliament has passed a landmark law that allows people to change the gender displayed on official documents—without having to prove they’ve undergone surgery.

Previously, transgender people had to receive a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’ and have their reproductive organs removed to obtain legal recognition of their correct gender, Reuters reports

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke out in support of the new law, which passed with 171 votes to 114, despite strong opposition from the Orthodox Church.

“No tradition, no religion, no perception of family requires citizens to remain on the margins or be pushed into institutional and social oblivion,” Tsipras said before the vote.

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Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director— Fotis Filippou has cautiously praised the historic decision.

“Today’s reform is a hard-won victory for transgender rights activists in Greece who have fought for equality for transgender people for years," Filippou said.

“It sends out a clear message that no one should be forced to go through medical procedures in order to be officially recognised for who they are."

Amnesty has pointed out that while the new law is a huge step forward, there are still a number of flaws in the legislation.

The new process means an individual still needs approval from a local court, instead of an administrative process.

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It’s also not available to refugees or migrants, excludes non-binary people and married applicants need to apply for a divorce before they can change their documents.

Transgender parents will also not be able to change their name or gender on their child’s birth certificate—which Amnesty notes is a ”breach of the transgender person’s private life.”

“Whilst this reform is a historic step in the right direction, the struggle is not fully won,” Filippou added.

“The Greek government must make further changes in law to ensure that transgender people in Greece can be legally recognised as who they are without having to give up other rights.”